Peter Jennings, 1995 (Dave Allocca/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Peter Jennings, one of America's most trusted voices in news, was a Canadian high school dropout. For more than 20 years Jennings anchored ABC's World News Tonight, hosted numerous special news reports and moderated presidential debates. In 2001, Jennings covered the 9/11 attacks for 17 hours straight, at one point sharing an emotional moment after receiving a phone call from his own children. He was no stranger to controversy, criticized for calling President George W. Bush a "deserter" and blocking Toby Keith from performing at a Fourth of July celebration. In 2003, Jennings became an American citizen. Today we remember Peter Jennings' remarkable life and other notable people who died this day in history.
2013: Margaret Pellegrini, U.S. actress most well-known for playing one of the munchkins in The Wizard of Oz, dies after having a stroke at 89.
Pellegrini has said she was 16 when The Wizard of Oz was filmed, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. She played one of the "sleepy head" kids and wore a flowerpot on her head in the movie. Later, Pellegrini was a guest speaker at grade schools across the Phoenix metropolitan area for many years. She usually appeared in costume and told stories about her time as a Munchkin, The Arizona Republic reported. She also told children that the Wizard of Oz movie was a moral lesson. "There are two roads in life that you can take – the wrong road and the right road," she said. "And remember, there really is no place like home." Read more
2012: Judith Crist, U.S. film critic known as the critic for New York magazine and TV Guide, dies at 90.
Starting in 1963 at the New York Herald Tribune, Crist wrote about and discussed thousands of movies, and covered theater and books, The Associated Press noted in her obituary. She was among the first reviewers of her time to gain a national following, and Roger Ebert credited her with helping to make all film critics better known, including such contemporaries as The New Yorker's Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris of the Village Voice. Read more
2009: Mike Seeger, U.S. folk musician and folklorist who was the half brother of Pete Seeger and co-founded the folk group New Lost City Ramblers, dies of cancer at 75.
2008: Bernie Brillstein, U.S. producer and talent agent who produced Hee Haw, The Sopranos and Ghostbusters and was the agent for John Belushi and Jim Henson, dies at 77.
As a manager and talent agent, Brillstein helped guide the careers of John Belushi and Jim Henson, and as a producer, he helped bring Saturday Night Live and The Sopranos to television, according to his obituary by The Associated Press. Brillstein founded the influential management and production company Brillstein-Grey Entertainment with partner Brad Grey in 1991. Read more
2005: Peter Jennings, Canadian-born U.S. newscaster who was the anchor of ABC's World News Tonight from 1983 until 2005, dies of lung cancer complications at 67.
As he rose in the network's ranks, he became a foreign correspondent, leading to his first big breaking story – the terrorist attacks at the 1972 Munich Olympics. As Palestinian terrorists held Israeli athletes hostage, killing 11 Olympians and coaches, Jennings and his camera crew hid near the scene of the tragedy. They were able to provide clear video of the terrorists, and Jennings used his previous experience as a Middle East correspondent to explain the situation thoroughly to his U.S. audience. Read more
1999: Brion James, U.S. character actor who appeared in Blade Runner, 48 Hrs. and Dynasty, dies of a heart attack at 54.
1994: Robert Hutton, U.S. actor who appeared in such movies as Destination Tokyo and Cinderfella with Jerry Lewis, dies at 74.
1992: John Anderson, U.S. actor known for his roles on television Westerns, including 12 appearances on Gunsmoke and 11 appearances on The Rifleman, dies of a heart attack at 69.
1985: Grayson Hall, U.S. actress best remembered for her regular role as Dr. Julia Hoffman on the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, dies of lung cancer at 62.
1984: Esther Phillips, U.S. singer whose songs that made the top of the Billboard rhythm and blues charts included "Double Crossing Blues" and "Release Me," dies of liver and kidney failure at 48.
1972: Joi Lansing, U.S. actress and model who was known for appearing in B movies and in many television shows including The Beverly Hillbillies and I Love Lucy, dies of breast cancer at 44.
1957: Oliver Hardy, U.S. comedian and actor who was famous as one-half of the classic act Laurel and Hardy, dies at 65 – 10 months after having a paralytic stroke.